Oilers never fail to amaze

Colorado Avalanche's Peter Budaj and Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff watch the puck go in the net....

Colorado Avalanche's Peter Budaj and Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff watch the puck go in the net. (REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:23 AM ET

EDMONTON - It was Colorado that clinched a playoff spot the night before, so there had to be some two-fisted celebrating going on, but it was Edmonton that looked hung over and content in the early going Wednesday.

If this was their way of thanking the fans for all of their support, you’d never know it from the first nine minutes of their final home game.

Playing an Avs team that started its backup goalie and sat out five regulars, the Oilers were down 3-0 before they knew what hit them.

But these are the Oilers, and just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they pull a 180-degree turn. So instead of laying there on the cold tile with their arms wrapped around the bowl, they got up and made a game of it, coming back to take a 4-3 lead.

Wow, talk about an inspired comeback.

But these are the Oilers, and just when you think you’ve got them figured ...

Oh, never mind, they blew the lead ... then got back up again to win it in overtime on Ryan Whitney’s one-timer.

So the same crew that’s lost 21 of its last 22 road games goes 9-3 down the stretch at home.

And they want to move to a new rink?

The Avs looked like they’d have this one put away early, and looked like they’d watched a lot of film on Edmonton, since all three of their goals were from unchecked players in the slot getting easy looks from close range — trademark goals against the Oilers.

Matt Duchene started it at 4:33, Ryan O’Reilly made it 2-0 at 4:59 and Marek Svatos appeared to put it out of reach at 8:58.

He didn’t.

As bad as they’ve been on the road this season, the Oilers have been decent at home and they started showing it.

Shawn Horcoff scored his 13th of the season, and 16th point in the last 19 games at 13:59 to put Edmonton on the board, then Dustin Penner, with his 32nd goal of the season and fifth in the last four games, made it 3-2 on a breakaway.

By the first intermission it was only 3-2 Avs.

Sure enough, Mike Comrie tied it from a sharp angle in the second period.

Andrew Cogliano scored 6:10 into the third period on a set up for Dustin Penner, making it 4-3 Edmonton and giving Penner his 30th assist of the season.

Matt Hendricks tied it back up at 12:58, beating Jeff Deslauriers to a loose puck in the crease.

UNKHABBY CAMPER - His year started with a dreadful last-second giveaway on opening night that cost Edmonton a game against Calgary and ended on the sidelines, recovering from back surgery and awaiting a DUI court date in Scottsdale, Az.

And how was your season?

Better than Nikolai Khabibulin’s, no doubt.

“Obviously it’s not the way I anticipated, but some things you can’t control,” said Khabibulin, who met with the media Wednesday to discuss the modest progress in his rehab. “The back injury, I’m training pretty hard in the off season. I feel that I’ve done everything I could to prevent any kind of injuries, back or groins or hips or whatever.

“When it happens it’s hard, it’s frustrating, but hopefully we’ll move forward and next year it’ll be something that won’t be an issue and it’ll be a lot more fun.”

Khabibulin has been skating and even took a few shots before practice without any pain.

“It seems like every day it feels better,” he said. “The doctors are happy with the progress and so am I. They said once I recover I shouldn’t feel anything, so Im pretty optimistic about it.

“The last couple of days were really exciting because I actually felt pretty good. I’m pretty out of shape right now but at the same time pretty happy because I’m moving in the right direction and nothing hurts.”

As for his DUI charges, he’s still not talking about it.

“I can’t really talk about it.”

Will he talk about after it’s been before the courts?

“Probably.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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